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UPEI sees drop in local enrolments, increase in international students

Don and Marion McDougall Hall, home of UPEI’s School of Business.
Don and Marion McDougall Hall, home of UPEI’s School of Business.

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — The University of Prince Edward Island saw an eight per cent decline in enrolment among local residents in 2015-2016, which was offset by an increase in students from outside the Maritimes and international enrolment.

Earlier this week, the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission released its report, which indicated enrolment drops in all three Maritime Provinces.

P.E.I. saw a total decrease of two per cent from the previous year, down to 4,188 students.

Enrolment of other Maritimers decreased by 0.7 per cent on the Islan, but enrolment of non-Maritime Canadians increased by 10 per cent and there was a 15.6 per cent increase in international students.

“As we have noted in previous years, the decreases in enrolments are largely the result of fewer Maritime residents choosing to enroll in the region’s universities,” said commission chair Jean-François Richard.

“It is true that the population of potential students in the region is declining, but we have also been seeing smaller percentages of that population enrolling.”

The study notes that the population of 18-24 year olds in the Maritimes shrank by 2.2 per cent in 2015. 

The university participation rate of Maritime residents currently stands at 21.8 per cent.

In all, 66,850 students were enrolled in Maritime universities in 2015-2016, down 2.3 per cent from the previous year.

The commission’s digest is available on its website at

Other provinces

• New Brunswick saw a 3.6 per cent enrolment drop, down to 19,394 students. The largest decline (5.5 per cent) was observed among international students, whereas enrolment of New Brunswick residents decreased 4.4 per cent, and other Maritimers decreased 0.7 per cent. Enrolment of Canadian students from outside the region increased 1.1 per cent.

• In Nova Scotia, total enrolment decreased 1.7 per cent, down to 43,268 students. The largest decrease (5.6 per cent) was observed among students coming to study in the province from elsewhere in the Maritimes. Enrolment of Nova Scotia residents decreased 3.0 per cent, and enrolment of Canadian students from outside the region decreased 1.1 per cent. International enrolment increased 2.6 per cent.  

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